(BrightPress.org) – The pandemic lockdowns and stress pushed a lot of people’s mental health to its limits. Between the rise in crime, inflation, and the risk of a deadly illness, folks were distraught and many were forced online in order to entertain themselves. Whether it was chastising those who refused to wear masks, or mandating experimental medical procedures, many people felt entitled to mock or punish their fellow Americans for having different ideas on the issue.
One man tried to make a joke about the situation in Alexandria, Louisiana, in March 2020 and suffered severe consequences for it. Waylon Bailey said the police were going to shoot “the infected” on sight while tagging the post with the hashtag #weneedyourbradpitt. In response, the local police including SWAT raided his home without a warrant.
In full body armor and with semiautomatic rifles, they handcuffed Bailey and one of the officers reportedly told him to not “f*ck with the police” during the arrest. Bailey was arrested for “terrorizing” the public with his joke. He also told the police that the post was a joke and that he had no malice toward the police. He deleted the post after officers informed him he could delete it himself or they could ask Facebook to take it down.
The police said that they had determined the post was criminal solely on the basis of the words it contained. Bailey was freed on a $1,200 bond and the DA decided not to press charges. The sheriff announced the arrest and Bailey’s name, said he was arrested for terrorism and Baily said he suffered damages as a result.
Then in September, he filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the sheriff which was dismissed by a local judge who claimed the police had qualified immunity. Now the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed that decision and said the lawsuit could continue as it was obviously a joke.
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